Each semester, Coastline College celebrates the accomplishments of our students and nothing commemorates that better than graduation. From their academic successes to their personal triumphs, each graduate has their own unique journey to the stage.
One story that stood out this year is that of Artis Knox from our 2019 Spring Commencement. Faced with many challenges on his path, Artis successfully earned a college degree while incarcerated and after his release. This was due to Coastline’s initiatives towards providing education to incarcerated students as well.
Finding his passion for learning in prison, when Artis was initially released one of the first places he wanted to go to was Coastline. He wanted to visit the school and see where he was earning his credit.
“Here, I am. I used to sit in a cell that was 4 feet wide and 9 to 10 feet long and 7 feet high, multiple hours out of the day – standard concrete wall. And now I’m in art class overlooking the pacific doing classwork. I said, “Wow, this is what an education can do.””
After his release, several other hardships met Artis as well. One of which was transportation. Due to not having reliable transportation but determined to continue, Artis took the public bus from South Central Los Angeles to Orange County. This trek between counties could take as long as three and a half to four hours. With this distance, Artis still continued to attend Coastline due to loyalty. He credits Coastline College with giving him an opportunity where other colleges did not while he was in prison.
I go to Coastline Community College out of loyalty. They shined the light in a very dark place for me when no other institution would.
Another obstacle that Artis met post release was financing his tuition and books. Intent on finishing and utilizing all his resources, Artis found a way. Working with Coastline, he was able to find financial assistance through Extended Opportunities Programs an Services (EOPS) and the Cooperative Agencies Resource for Education (CARE). The EOPS program is designed to assist students with unique challenges. The CARE program was created to help single parents achieve academic success or career goals. Visit the site below to learn more about the EOPS and CARE department.
2019 Spring Commencement
Artis initially started with an Astronomy class when he first started taking courses. As he registered for more he found his way and planned on earning a degree for transfer in Psychology. However, as he had taken so many classes in prison, he realized he had the chance to earn more. From behavioral sciences and liberal arts to sociology classes, Artis realized – with the help of a counselor – he could earn a degree in Sociology, Psychology and Social and Behavioral Sciences if he waited two more semesters.
So what’s next for Artis Knox? In May, Artis received an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. After he complete Statistics this summer, he will receive a degree in Social and Behavioral Science. After completing his final two classes in the Fall, he will earn his Associates degree in both Sociology and Psychology.
The Coastline graduate had reached out to others about planning for his future. With plans of attending California State University, Fullerton in the future, as a Psychology major, Artis reached out to with Project Rebound. The program helps students continue their success that were formerly incarcerated.
As Artis Knox heads to the next chapter of his academic journey, Coastline wishes him all the luck and success!